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A theory of pragmatism holding that ideas and theories are instruments that function as guides for action or prediction, their validity determined by their degree of success rather than any criterion of truth.


1. (Philosophy) a system of pragmatic philosophy holding that ideas are instruments, that they should guide our actions and can change the world, and that their value consists not in their truth but in their success
2. (Philosophy) an antirealist philosophy of science that holds that theories are not true or false but are merely tools for deriving predictions from observational data


(ˌɪn strəˈmɛn tlˌɪz əm)

a variety of pragmatism maintaining that the truth of an idea is determined by its success in the active solution of a problem and that the value of ideas is determined by their function in human experience.


a pragmatic philosophy holding that it is the function of thought to be a means to the control of environment, and that the value and truthfulness of ideas is determined by their usefulness in human experience or progress. — instrumentalist, n., adj.
See also: Philosophy
the concept that ideas and thoughts are instruments of action and that their usefulness determines their truth. — instrumentalist, adj.
See also: Ideas
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.instrumentalism - a system of pragmatic philosophy that considers idea to be instruments that should guide our actions and their value is measured by their success
pragmatism - (philosophy) the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge and meaning and value
References in periodicals archive ?
He contends that the idiom, when seen as a vocal genre, consists of a synthesis of complicated rhythms, intonational systems, motivic developments, song structure, performance practices, textures, orchestrations, and instrumentalism, within the wider context of all vocalizing styles.
In spite of the book's minor faults, Henley makes an undeniably compelling case with his congruent and rational argument for the primacy of rural and pro-poor development, its precedence over industrialization, and ultimately, its instrumentalism in sustaining economic growth in Southeast Asia, which set it on a development path that has remained a suitable benchmark for African development.
With the failures of reductive materialism as evidenced by the negative planetary effects of instrumentalism, industrialism, and commodification--global climate change, species extinction, rapid deforestation, water and air pollution--many philosophers and theorists have begun to search for new, nonreductive understandings of the natural world.
The South Sudanese returning exile elite themselves often encouraged this sense of instrumentalism.
Confronted as we are by the rapidly widening gap in inequality, the winding back of social provision, the mass dislocation of people around the world, the threats to the environment--water, food, climate, deforestation, and the encouragement of leaders to be fearful, we might well think about the narrowing instrumentalism of much that passes for adult education.
And although this institutional role was limited after 1917 by the Communist Party's attempt to harness arts and letters for the purpose of indoctrination, the Thaw allowed for a halting relaxation of this instrumentalism.
Mostly educated in the West, they unconsciously absorb and assimilate this amoral instrumentalism.
I propose a re-configured view of education that transcends metaphysical instrumentalism with its potential benefits for allowing educators, practitioners, and researchers to re-conceptualize the objectified, reified, and technical ways of revealing and understanding our Being-in-the-world that have become the norm, which occlude other forms of world-disclosure, and for this, I am attuned to the curriculum as a "form of the poetic.
Eigenberger and Sealander (2001) developed the student anti-intellectualism scale (SAIS) that consists of items that measure 1) unreflective instrumentalism (a preference for practicality over critical thinking/deep analysis), 2) consumer entitlement (i.
And despite increasing sophistication of neoclassical economics, "homo economicus is still exclusively motivated by a fierce means-ends instrumentalism.
I will then question Harel's noninstrumentalist approach with regard to constitutionalism and judicial review and will conclude with a short defense of modest constitutional instrumentalism.
Fifth, we discuss the intrinsic conservatism that dominates education, and elaborate explanations that are associated with the fundamental misconception of technology instrumentalism.